There are numerous publications available detailing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. These typically include about 500 pages of text and illustrations and can be confusing. NRCA recently released The NRCA Safety Manual, Second Edition, which is significantly shorter with about 250 pages of easy-to-understand explanations, illustrations and photos explaining federal rules related to the roofing industry. The new manual is an updated version of The NRCA Safety Manual, which was published in 2000.
The NRCA Safety Manual, Second Edition contains new chapters regarding exposures, hazardous materials and hazardous-waste management and minimization, as well as a new section in the Fall Protection chapter addressing rescue. The Exposures chapter features four topics that have been increasingly regulated by OSHA: lead, silica, isocyanates and noise.
Lead is an important topic because roofing projects often involve the installation or removal of lead-coated copper, lead flashings or other lead roof accessories. Silica is of concern to roofing contractors because the abrasive action of cutting concrete and clay products produces a dust that can be inhaled by workers, potentially causing silicosis, a scarring of the lung tissue that reduces lung function. OSHA fines involving worker exposures to lead are substantial—a manufacturer recently alleged to have violated the lead standard was assessed a proposed penalty of $115,000.
The new manual also addresses worker exposures to isocyanate, which can happen during application of numerous polyurethane foam products that have become more commonplace in the roofing industry. Symptoms of isocyanate exposure typically are not severe, but some workers who have become sensitized to such products may have adverse reactions.
The new manual also explains OSHA's rules relating to hearing protection and offers solutions to minimize worker exposures. Exposure to high sound levels is common at most construction job sites, and OSHA has focused attention on enforcement of hearing-protection provisions in construction regulations.
The new Hazardous Materials chapter provides useful explanations of recent U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rules related to security of hazardous materials' shipment and storage. The provisions may apply to contractors who use liquid propane gas, flammable adhesives, mastics, cutbacks or other flammable products. A comprehensive explanation of DOT's marking rules and placard requirements for transporting hazardous materials on roads and highways also is included.
The new manual's updated Fall Protection chapter addresses OSHA's fall-protection standard, which requires the rescue of a worker who has fallen while wearing a personal fall-arrest (PFA) system. A new explanation contained in the safety manual should prove valuable in helping you develop training sessions for workers who use PFAs and should aid employees' understanding of suspension trauma and rescue techniques, including self-rescue.
The updated manual also features more than 50 new color photographs depicting rules, practices and equipment unique to roofing industry applications.
An indispensable resource
NRCA's Safety Manual Committee and staff spent considerable time producing The NRCA Safety Manual, Second Edition. The manual is $125 for NRCA members and $250 for nonmembers, and NRCA believes it is an indispensable resource for all roofing contractors.
Harry Dietz is NRCA's director of risk management.